This week sees the first of a new series from Tweeddale Volunteers showcasing the positive contribution volunteers are making throughout Tweeddale. Here, the group explains why volunteering is so vital to the community and spotlights one local project.

Volunteering is increasingly recognised as a great way to learn new skills or share and use existing skills, meet new people, feel a sense of achievement, help friends, neighbours and the wider community.

Tweeddale Volunteers is a forum of partner organisations and volunteers from across the Tweeddale community. We are lucky to have a large number of volunteers who give up their time to support our local community in many different ways.

Volunteering is essential to both community resilience and to individual wellbeing. Volunteers really are the lifeblood of communities. From Tweedsmuir to Clovenfords, there are countless people who devote their time and expertise to providing services and activities locally, without which lives would be a lot poorer.

Volunteers provide much-needed help and advice on issues such as housing and benefits, delivering meals and providing friendship to those that are isolated, keeping parks and rivers clean, walking dogs and supporting the organisation of events, sitting on parent councils – the list is endless!

For more information on volunteering opportunities in the Borders, please contact Volunteer Centre Borders: email

Food and Friendship in Peebles

Q Tell us about your organisation/ project?

A The Food Foundation (a Peebles-based social enterprise) and the Community Capacity Building Team have worked together to develop Food and Friendship over the past year. Food and Friendship is now a successful service which delivers a hot nutritious meal one lunch time a week to older people living in Peebles. This service is reliant on friendly volunteers who give up their own time to deliver the meals to older people who are unable to cook themselves or simply do not wish to. There is a real befriending element to this project as well as keeping people connected to the community.

Q What is the role of a Food and Friendship volunteer?

*Delivering tasty home-made meals to mostly older people living in Peebles.

* Making friendships

*Chatting and brightening up people’s days.

Q Why do you volunteer?

"I wanted to do something for myself, wanted to do something worthwhile."

"I wanted to help people and give something back to the community."

"You can see first-hand the impact that spending time with people who are on their own a lot has on them."

"It has improved my confidence as a volunteer and person."

"I do this in my spare time and think this project is a fantastic idea so wanted to be part of it."

Q What do you get out of it?

"I feel that I am doing something really useful in my spare time; it’s only an hour or so, not even my whole day."

"Friendships are being made which is lovely."

"Friendship is just as an important aspect of this project as the food is."

"You can see first-hand the benefits to the customers who receive this service."

"I enjoy the continuity of visiting the same person each week, it's great hearing older people’s life stories."

"Learning from older people who have lived in the town all of their life is really interesting, lots of knowledge and stories to be shared."

"The older people comment on the tasty food and how nice it is to have a freshly home cooked meal."

Q Would you encourage others to get involved and why?

"Absolutely, yes!"

"It’s a nice opportunity to get involved with, it’s easy to do and simple process."

"You don’t have to make the food this is already done for you by volunteers and staff at the Food Foundation."

"The food is piping hot when you arrive at the person’s home; you just serve if needed and chat to the older person."

"Very rewarding and making such an important impact."

Q How would someone get in touch if they wanted to volunteer?

All enquiries would go to Yvonne Maclaren, operational manager at the Food Foundation – or 01721 722421.